Though the bombings which took place Monday afternoon at the Boston Marathon were nearly 500 miles away from Chautauqua County, the tragic event hit close to home for a couple local residents.
Two bombs, approximately 100 yards apart, went off within 10 seconds of each other, killing three and injuring more than 130 people.
Fredonia resident Daryl Brautigam competed in the Boston Marathon in 2008 and qualified for this year’s race. However, he elected not to compete because training for the event is tough to do during winters in Chautauqua County. Brautigam’s good friend Mike Bobseine did compete in the race. Bobseine finished the race near the four-hour mark and the bombs went off at the 4:09 mark.
“I was hoping Mike was OK,” Brautigam said. “My wife texted them and she got a text back saying he was OK. He said he was in the vicinity of the bomb. He texted us right back within 10 minutes.”Brautigam noted the last two major marathons have been memorable for the wrong reasons between the New York City Marathon being canceled due to Hurricane Sandy and now the Boston Marathon being overshadowed by the bombs.
With thousands of spectators on hand to watch the race, Brautigam is not sure what law enforcement can do to make the event more safe.
“There is nothing there to stop someone from doing something violent,” he said. “You can’t secure the whole course. It’s free admission. It’s real easy to get to the course. After (Monday), I don’t know what they are going to do to secure it.
“Most of the course is lined with people, but the end is amazing,” Brautigam continued. “There are bleachers on both sides at the end. It’s the only time you get to end a race with people cheering. It’s really quite cool to do. It’s a neat feeling, but (Monday) must have been awful.”
Catherine Pratt, another Fredonia resident, has competed in the Boston Marathon three times – most recently in 2011.
“Boston is the Holy Grail of marathons,” Pratt said. “It’s the one marathon everyone tries to qualify for. Everyone works so hard to get there. You’re not thinking of anything like this happening. You see that finish line, it’s such an awesome thing. To have that happen there, it’s hard to put into words.”
Though Pratt did not participate this year, she had several friends compete.
“Are my friends safe,” Pratt responded when asked what was going through her mind when she heard the news. “I talked to a few – just basically enough to know they were OK.”
With the tragic events, Pratt hopes fellow runners will unite and not be hesitant to compete in marathons in the future.
“I hope it’s an isolated incident,” she said. “I think it would give people more reason to do it. It’s one more reason to band together.”
Pratt, still shaken by Monday’s events called the incident “real upsetting.”
“I don’t know what’s wrong with people,” she said. “I talked to people who ran and they feel the same way. You just don’t know what goes through people’s minds to do things like that.”